Author Tom Girolamo presents an innovative approach to creating an environmentally friendly sustainable landscape. He points out that since we have many demands on our time and financial resources, why not create a landscape that requires the minimum maintenance and cost and is also kind to the environment? By examining popular beliefs and introducing new ideas he forges a new and exciting approach to creating a yard.

Many ideas have been put forward about taking good care of the environment and Girolamo examines some of these and shows that they should be avoided. For example, a responsible gardener probably thinks that having a rain barrel or rain garden is a positive. But no, according to Girolamo both are to be avoided and he gives very good reasons why. Likewise, he explains why composting, organic fertilizers, and native plants should also be avoided.  His arguments are compelling.

Recognizing that everyone is different, Girolamo proposes that lifestyle and personality should interact to produce a landscape design. Lifestyle influences what features will function best and personality influences how these features will turn out. He identifies four personality types and provides directions for projects and plants for the yard that will meet the needs of each type. So, for example, the projects for a Bold individual includes large solar panels and a wood-fired brick oven for entertaining while the Perfectionist’s list includes drip irrigation and a well-organized tool shed.

Separate chapters are devoted to water use, high quality tools, safety, and “must have items”. Each chapter provides thought provoking facts and opinions as well as novel solutions to problems. The emphasis is on taking a new look at a situation with an open mind and rediscovering ways of doing things that are ecologically sound yet are in sync with lifestyle and personality considerations.  A very good read even if you aren’t convinced he’s right on all issues.

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By Karen